Kirtland`s Warbler

Moving on from Manitoulin Island we headed through Sault St-Marie and into Michigan, our destination was to be the unassuming town of Grayling. We checked into the Ramada Hotel, starting point for the guided Kirtland`s Warbler tours, and headed out to bird the area.We found a nice little track with lots of birds, Brewer`s Blackbirds, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and the like. Knowing that we needed to find Jack Pine plantations with trees between 5-15 feet high we were quiet pleased to come across a few such plantations on our little track. Sure enough Kirtland`s Warblers were singing away but none were in view, no matter how hard I tried to gain an angle. 

The agility of a Mountain Goat – that stump was stronger than it looks!

The next day we were out at 07:15 on the tour. Tours like this are a test of patience. Usually most people want to see the bird, are considerate and quiet but there is always one who you would happily feed to a hungry Pit Bull, sure enough there she was, mouth in over drive, a resident of Decibel New Jersey or Volume Indiana or some such place. She yelled her way around the site and the poor guide just had to take it, keep smiling and hope the next group didn`t include her sister!

Despite the peroxide noise machine we had great views of several Kirtland`s Warblers including a seldom seen female. We also saw well a singing Clay-colored Sparrow then the heavens opened. I had not managed a photo at that point so we hung back until the yawping harpie had moved away but no more Kirtland`s Warblers showed well enough and we were told we could not be on the site without the guide.

Kirtland`s Warbler habitat

Brown-headed Cowbird trap. The cowbirds were knocking out up to 85% of the Kirtland`s Warbler broods some years, these won`t though.

Mission accomplished we headed south returning to Canada via Detroit. For some reason the route into Canada from the last two entries we have used have both been the same, almost a back door. You really get the feeling that the US does not like to acknowledge that Canada is there, it is very wierd. We pressed on through Windsor to Leamington and visited Point Pelee for the first time, I have to say we were very impressed.

We birded the trails around the visitor center then went out to the point. Despite it being the holiday weekend and there being many non-birders around we were able to get away from them and enjoy a great afternoon of birding. I didn`t take many photos as there constant presence of birds meant that I either birded or photographed, I opted for the former.

A young male Orchard Oriole, there were several pairs present.

Female Blackburnian Warbler, the only one at eye level.

Baltimore Oriole

Above, Eastern Kingbird, below Eastern Wood Pewee


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